Friday, April 29, 2016

Brains Beats Brawn - Guest Post

Brains Beats Brawn
By Nancy Cole Silverman

When I first started thinking about writing the Carol Childs Mysteries, I knew I wanted to create a different type of female protagonists, one that was more brain than brawn and who believed a microphone was more powerful than a forty-five. It’s a great tagline and one that I arrived at after spending nearly twenty years in news and talk radio.

I’m not Carol Childs, she’s far gutsier and more glib than I could have ever been, but creating her character allowed me to share with my readers some of the antics that went on inside a newsroom when a breaking news story was all the public could talk about.

I grew up enjoying radio. When I was a small child my father and I made a crystal diode radio set. That’s the kind of thing that looks like a toilet paper tube with copper wiring coiled around it. At night, I’d crawl into bed and put my earpieces on and listen to all old radio plays on the air. Things like Gun Smoke, Roy Rogers, and Hopalong Cassidy were my favorite.

I started working in radio when I was still in college and despite the years and the diversity of the markets and formats, there is one thing I know is standard about radio people. No matter where you are, or what they’re broadcasting, they never look like they sound.

Which I love.

And I’ve used that fact to my advantage in writing The Carol Childs Mysteries. The anonymity of a radio personality allows for two things. Loyal fans who listen to a radio show host consider that person to be their friend. And when news breaks, it’s never unusual for a listener to call in and share with their friend inside information. Things they might not tell the police. And with that information, the radio host is suddenly armed with data no other reporter or investigator may have. Plus, like the listener, few people, if any at all, know what the personality looks like. It’s a win-win for the reporter.

In book one, Shadow of Doubt, a top Hollywood agent is murdered after leaving an awards show and it’s later discovered the woman left her estate to her twin nieces. The story played out on the airwaves of nearly every Los Angeles radio station. But when I heard, the will left one-million dollars to one niece and only one-dollar to the other, I couldn’t pass on using the story. Of course, the story in no way resembles what really happened. And to add to the suspense, I made one of those nieces Carol’s next door neighbor, and not only that but Carol’s primary source for Hollywood insider information. Trouble is, when Sam becomes a suspect in the murder of her aunt, Carol is forced to choose to include her friend’s name in a news report that will certainly place her friend front and center in the court of public opinion or abandon the story. Could you do that? Choose your job over friendship? It’s a subplot, the type of thing I enjoy introducing in each of the Carol Childs Mysteries.

Book Two, Beyond A Doubt, deals with sex trafficking and the kidnapping of both white and black girls. Carol’s radio station, KCHC is a chick-lite format and would rather not include detailed coverage of such a crime. But when Carol uncovers a connection with highly empowered city official she chooses to risk her job to continue the investigation. 

Book three, Without A Doubt, debuts May 24. And while it opens with a chocolatiers tour in Beverly Hills, stay tuned. Things heat up quickly when Carol finds herself in the middle of a jewelry store heist and realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, may somehow be involved. The robbery opens up a Pandora’s box of colorful characters, including the perpetrator of the crime who begins to call her when she is on the air, and of difficult choices that will have Carol questioning her relationships and her career all the way to the last page.

I like playing mental games. I find as much suspense built into the choices my characters make as the actual crime my protagonists is drawn to solve. And I find it interesting that with the power of the mic, Carol at no time needs a gun. A bright, thoughtful woman who understands public opinion, properly informed has as much power to persuade as a forty-five.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco. This book is the first in the Zodiac Mystery series and will be released June 8th.

Julia Bonatti is a professional astrologer in San Francisco. In addition to private clients, she also writes the Ask Zodia newspaper feature anonymously. However, somehow not only her name, but e-mail, phone number and address have been leaked out and she's getting protests, threats, and more from people associated with the Prophet's Tabernacle. In addition, some of her private clients are making surprising claims and making poor life choices. Already one person has died, although it appears to be accidental. Violence is increasing by these religious extremists and this period of mercury in retrograde could be Julia's worst one ever...if not her last!

Be warned. The cover of this book makes it look like a cozy mystery. It is NOT! I would consider it a thriller, perhaps a straight mystery. I'm only a few chapters in and some very distressing things have occurred. Well, one. That being said, it is a very good book so far.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ideas - Guest Post

Today I turn over my blog to Annette Dashofy. Annette writes the Zoe Chambers Mystery series. With a Vengeance is the fourth book in the series and will be released May 3rd.

Thanks so much, Kathy, for having me here.

One of the questions I’m frequently asked—as are all writers—is where do our ideas come from. For me, anything can trigger a story plot or thread, but quite often they come from the news. Such was the case for With a Vengeance, although I can’t recall when or where the event occurred. That’s okay. My plots aren’t “ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story.” I prefer “inspired” by actual events. There’s a difference, I think. “Ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story” suggests there will be a few recognizable facts, although creative license is taken with the telling of the story. “Inspired” means I heard something that sparked my wild imagination.

In this fourth book of the Zoe Chambers mystery series, someone is staging accident scenes and calling 9-1-1. When the heroic first responders arrive on the scene, the villain picks them off with a high-powered rifle.

When I started writing it, I didn’t need to look up the exact article or find the television footage. Good thing. I tried doing that just now and it’s scary how many stories pop up when you Google “paramedic ambush.” Instead, I had a vague recollection of an event with which to play “what if.”

Having worked on an ambulance and shown up first at some desolate locations, something like my scenario is all too plausible. And all too terrifying. It wasn’t hard to imagine what Zoe and Police Chief Pete Adams were going through as they responded to calls in which their own colleagues had fallen victim. Nor was it hard to imagine the resulting trepidation they and other emergency responders felt every time a call came in, knowing the sniper was still out there.

In case you’re wondering how a story like this could fall under the cozy umbrella, I won’t kid you. I write “gritty” cozies. Hank Phillippi Ryan once dubbed them “not-quite” cozies. But there are definitely elements of humor woven throughout.

I’ve populated Vance Township with a number of offbeat new characters who may or may not be involved in the killings. There’s the cranky hermit survivalist and his seven-car-pile-up gorgeous daughter, Loco Lucy. There are the auto repair shop owner and his mechanic, who are way too happy to overcharge Zoe every time her battered pickup conks out. And there’s bad-guy-wannabe Snake Sullivan (real name: Eli) who still lives with his mother.

Hopefully, With a Vengeance will keep you on the edge of your seat turning the page while giving you a laugh or two along the way. If it does, my job is done.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Raisin the Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Kendra to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Kendra on the pages of the Bread and Batter Mystery series by Karoline Barrett. Raisin the Dead is the second book in the series and was released earlier this month.

Interview Questions for Kendra

Kathy: You once proposed to hold a séance in Bread and Batter. Have you conducted or been to any séances any lately? 

K: First, thank you for having me on your blog. I’m thrilled! Usually Molly gets to have all the fun. Not that I mind, of course, I love her like a sister. Now, to your question, my friends and I recently held a séance for an elderly woman who wanted to contact her great-grandfather. She had a lovely, old scary house that was perfect for a séance. It was dark, a little dusty, and filled with ancient, heavy furniture, and those dark heavy drapes. I think they were velvet. Anyway, we gathered around her huge dining room table. It took us about a half an hour, but we made contact with Tom Bellamy, that was his name. Turns out, she wanted to ask him if her great-grandmother poisoned him. He said yes, but he’d forgiven her, and his afterlife was quite comfortable. Then we lost him.

Kathy: How did you become interested in the paranormal?

K: I’ve always been curious about the unknown, or unexplained, and ghosts. I believe there’s a realm we know nothing about, but if we try, maybe we’re lucky to get a glimpse of it. My own great-grandmother told me when she was a child, she and her siblings saw a UFO hovering over Destiny Lake.

Kathy: Do you still study paranormal phenomena?

K: When I can. Between my work at Bread and Batter, and school, I don’t have a lot of time. 

Kathy: How do you feel about working at Bread and Batter now?

K: I absolutely love it. Molly and Olivia are awesome, lots of fun, and I love all our customers. I’m being paid for something I truly enjoy doing.

Kathy: What's your favorite bakery item?

K: How can you ask me to pick just one? I’ll have to say Molly’s banana dark chocolate and her lemon coconut cupcakes. That’s two, isn’t it?  They’re both excellent.

Kathy: What do you think makes Destiny, NY so special?

K: The people. We’re a very close and friendly community. Of  course, there’s the lake. It’s beautiful in the summer. We have two gorgeous beaches and the water is crystal clear.



RAISIN THE DEAD by Karoline Barrett
The Second Bread and Batter Mystery

Things are settling down in Destiny, NY after the murder of Calista Danforth-Brody. Molly and Olivia are baking and even expanding their offerings at Bread and Batter. Molly and Detective Sean Corsino are slowly advancing their relationship and Molly's new puppy is a delight. Things don't stay quiet for long, however. Serafina Alessi, owner of Serafina Perfumes who is practically American royalty, is in town. Big news to many, but not as big as Molly's mother's picture on the front page of the newspaper with some least not to Molly. Said guy is her mom's colleague and turns out to be a relative of Serafina. He also turns up dead. Could it possibly be another murder?

Molly feels the need to protect her mother and prove her innocence. Although she tries to leave matters to the police, for the most part, she ups her involvement when Sean gets knocked out of commission. Deceptions abound in RAISIN THE DEAD. A most surprising occurrence is the appearance of Felicia, the identical twin sister of Sean's deceased wife. Unexpected allies also appear.

RAISIN THE DEAD is a great second installment of the Bread and Batter Mystery series. We see character growth and expansion. There's plenty of tension and I felt myself compelled to race through the last part of the book such was my desire to see what would happen! I had a few "Oh no she didn't!" moments when I wanted to take action against a certain character myself! Fortunately a new personality stepped in for me. All in all I had a delightful stay in Destiny, NY and look forward to visiting again!

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Spotlight & Giveaway - The Good Traitor

The Good Traitor

by Ryan Quinn

on Tour April 5 - May 13, 2016

The Good Traitor by Ryan QuinnThe US ambassador to China is killed in a suspicious plane crash just days after a news article links Chinese spies to US business interests. The American intelligence community is left scrambling to investigate possible connections between the crash and a series of other high-profile deaths. On the other side of the world, ex-CIA operative Kera Mersal returns to the United States determined to clear her name after being branded a traitor for exposing illegal government surveillance. There, former colleague and fellow fugitive J. D. Jones contacts her with a new assignment: find out who is staging accidents to murder news sources. As the news site continues to publish stories about top-secret CIA programs and Chinese government corruption, Mersal reunites with old allies to uncover the truth and prove her loyalty to her country once and for all. But Mersal’s investigations put her on the trail of a sinister hacker whose own motives may influence a vaster—and more deadly—geopolitical conspiracy than either of the world’s two largest superpowers is prepared to handle.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller Published by: Thomas & Mercer Publication Date: April 5, 2016 Number of Pages: 334 ISBN: 978-1503954625 Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Author Bio:

Ryan Quinn A native of Alaska, Ryan Quinn was an NCAA champion and an all-American athlete in skiing while at the University of Utah. He worked for five years in New York’s book-publishing industry before moving to Los Angeles, where he writes and trains for marathons. Quinn’s first novel, The Fall, was an award-winning finalist for the 2013 International Book Awards.

For more, please visit:

Ryan Quinn's website Ryan Quinn's twitter Ryan Quinn's facebook

Tour Participants:

Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ryan Quinn. There will be 1 winners of 1 $10 US Gift card. The giveaway begins on April 5th and runs through May 13th, 2016.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading The Final Tap by Amanda Flower. This book is the second in her Living History Museum Mystery series and will be released May 8th.

It's maple season at Barton Farm, but an extraordinarily cold winter means the sap may not be running when the guests arrive! Kelsey has arranged for a local horticulture expert and maple syrup tapper, Dr. Conrad Beeson, to lecture at the museum's Maple Sugar Festival, an arrangement that doesn't sit well with Gavin, her young director of education, also a maple syrup expert. Dr. Beeson turns out to be an overbearing and unpleasant man. When the disparaging doctor winds up dead-with a drill sticking out of his chest, Kelsey has to protect the farm and her employees once again, especially as Gavin had recently threatened to kill the dead man and is now a prime suspect in his murder!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spotlight - Fat Cat Takes the Cake

Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on a book on my TBR pile. In fact, I have the whole series on my real TBR pile, buying each one, but as of yet, not having the opportunity to read them. I'm talking about the Fat Cat Mystery series by Janet Cantrell, the third of which, Fat Cat Takes the Cake, was released just this month.

From the back cover:

Quincy the butterscotch tabby has a talent for sniffing out sweets-and uncovering crimes-in this Fat Cat Mystery from the national best selling author of Fat Cat Spreads Out.

When their former classmate Richard "Dickie" Byrd throws a high school reunion to gather support for his mayoral campaign, it drums up some not-so-sweet memories for dessert shop proprietor Chase Oliver and her friend Julie Larson. Julie would rather not reconnect with Ron North, the creepy kid who had a crush on her back in the day. His social graces haven't exactly improved with age, but is he creepy enough to kill?

The next day, Chase is in the park testing a new cat harness for Quincy, who quickly proves that he cannot be leashed. But when his escape leads Chase to Ron's body, the police wonder who else got away. Now, with Julie suspected of murder, Chase must prove her innocence before the real killer plans another fatal reunion.

Recipe for people and training tips for cats included!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An Unhappy Medium Interview, Review, & Giveaway

I am so happy to welcome Neila to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Neila on the pages of the Family Fortune Mystery series by Dawn Eastman. An Unhappy Medium is the 4th book in the series and was released earlier this month.

A character interview with Neila.

Kathy: Thanks for agreeing to speak with me Neila. I only wish I was there in person so we could share some tea and cookies. I might also ask you some questions for my tea blog. ;)

N: Thank you for inviting me! I would love to visit a tea blog - these computers are so fascinating.

Kathy: When did you first realize you had psychic abilities?

N: I think I have always known. Or, more accurately, I’ve always known “things” but it took me until I was in school before I realized not everyone had the same abilities. I didn’t grow up in Crystal Haven, where everyone is either psychic, or knows someone who is, so it came as a bit of a shock to me that I was different in this way.

Kathy: You have a unique ability, which I imagine can be quite difficult. You know when a parent is going to lose a child. Has this ability colored your world outlook?

N: Yes, certainly. For a long time I kept it to myself. I was able to give readings like many of the other psychics, and the first time I met a woman whose child was going to die, I didn’t know what to do. I chose not to tell her, but felt guilty about not warning her. In that case, it was cancer, which was diagnosed shortly after she came to see me. So, I felt okay about not telling her – there was nothing she could do. It was later ones that were difficult – accidents, or illnesses that could have been prevented. I learned over time that I was only given the ability to see what would happen, but not the ability to change it. Eventually, I stopped giving readings for fear of what I might see.

Kathy: Do you ever wish you did not have that ability?

N: Absolutely. But we all have to play the hand we’re dealt and I’ve tried to make peace with mine.

Kathy: You make potions, teas, and tisanes. Do you have a favorite?

N: I like chamomile tea because it has so many uses. It can be used topically as an anti-inflammatory, and it is very calming as a beverage.

Kathy: What's your favorite herb?

N: Rosemary because I love the way it smells and it is thought to be both a love charm and a memory enhancer. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could always remember exactly what it feels like to fall in love?

Kathy: Do you have a favorite cookie?

N: I make a lot of chocolate chip cookies because they’re Clyde’s favorite and, as you know, she visits often. But my favorite is my mother’s snickerdoodle. I have her recipe, but have never quite recreated her cookie. Of course, I try every chance I get!

Kathy: What's one piece of advice you share with people just discovering their psychic abilities?

N: Don’t force it and don’t fight it. It seems if you do either, it just makes things worse. Learning how to relax and stop all the internal chatter is helpful as well.

Kathy: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me.

N: It was my pleasure, dear. I don’t think I’ve ever done an interview before – especially not for a computer blog!



The Fourth Family Fortune Mystery

Clyde Fortune gets a bad feeling when her mom tells her that her sister, Grace is coming to town along with her husband and young daughter, Seth's little sister. Is the feeling just a normal reaction to her complicated sibling relationship, or is she getting a true premonition? As Seth gets the family involved with his Zombie Fun Run to benefit the animal shelter more red flags go up for Clyde, and not just the ones proving she's not as in shape as she once was! Grace finally confides that she and her husband are in trouble after mobsters didn't heed her financial advice. Death at the Zombie Run brings matters to a head and family secrets are no longer contained. 

AN UNHAPPY MEDIUM deals with family and secrets. We learn more about Clyde's youth and her relationship with her sister, Grace. We also learn even more about Neila and Clyde's mom. The book shows how the past influences the present and certain things come full circle. As for the mystery itself, was it a case of mistaken identity? Are Grace and her husband the real targets? The murder is certainly more difficult to solve when we're not sure who was the intended victim! Are Grace and Paul still in danger? And what lengths will they go to to protect themselves?

I love this series and the characters who inhabit it...well, most of them. I appreciate the growth and development of the characters and family...although I'm unsure I like the latest wrench in Clyde's life. At least I would find it a wrench, maybe she doesn't. What makes me smile with this book even more is the attention to animals and the giving back Seth does by sponsoring a fun run to benefit the local animal shelter. I wish I could really visit Crystal Haven, hang out with Clyde and her friends and family, and help out animals in need too! AN UNHAPPY MEDIUM is a great addition to the Family Fortune Mystery series which brings even more nuances and complexity to an already first rate series.


For a chance to win your own copy of AN UNHAPPY MEDIUM, simply leave a comment on this blog post along with your e-mail address no later than 11:59 EDT Monday, April 18, 2016. Tell us if your family has any secrets and/or if you support any local animal shelters or rescues. Sorry US only and no PO Boxes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dead Men Interview and Review

I'm delighted to welcome Paula Paul to Cozy Up With Kathy today.Paula writes the Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series. For Dead Men Only is the second book in the series and was released this past week.

Kathy: The Alexandra Gladstone Mystery series is set in Victorian England. What made you choose this time period for your series?

PP. The Victorian era began to intrigue me when I realized my that growing up in the 50s and 60s in a Southern culture was akin to the culture of the Victorian age in so many ways. My grandmother especially had Victorian sensibilities. Since I felt so steeped in Victoriana that I guess it seemed natural to write about it.

Kathy: Alexandra Gladstone is a doctor, an unusual profession for a woman in Victorian England. How did you decide upon Alexandra having a profession, let alone that of a physician?

PP. The reason Alexandra is a doctor doesn’t really have particularly interesting roots. An editor asked me to write a historical mystery and to make the heroine interesting and unusual. I started doing research and discovered how difficult it was for women to have any kind of career in the era I had chosen. Medicine seemed one of the most difficult careers for a woman to pursue, and I discovered that Victorian medicine with all of its herbal cures was fascinating.

Kathy: Freemasons play a major role in For Dead Men Only. The history of Freemasons is fascinating. Had you known much about them prior to researching this book? Are they a particular interest of yours?

PP: I knew a little about the Freemasons before I began the research for For Dead Men Only, but I didn’t know of their connection to the Knights Templar until perhaps twenty years ago when I met an elderly man in my church who was a Templar in the Freemasons. I had never heard of that group. He explained that their mission is to provide funds for ministers who wish to visit Jerusalem, which is what his group did for our minister. Of course I’d heard of the Templars and had a vague notion that they protected pilgrims who visited the Holy Land during the Crusades. The old gentleman’s remarks stirred my interest, and I started reading books about the Templar history and learned of the disputed idea that Freemasons is an outgrowth of the Templars. There are many stories about the Templars, many of them unproven, but all of them fascinating.

Kathy: Historical mysteries require an extra special brand of research. What’s your favorite method to research this time period?
PP: Since I am an incurable bibliophile, my favorite method of historical research is to read books about the subject. I also use the Internet to a great extent to search for information, but there’s nothing like a good book—fiction or nonfiction. Certainly, I also like to visit the places I write about as well.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

PP: Reading books by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers were the first to draw me in when I was young. I have always preferred the genre to hard-boiled mysteries or thrillers because the plots are so intricate. While I have wanted to be a writer almost all of my life, I didn’t think, at first, that I could write mysteries because of the demands of the plot.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

PP: Yes, I write historical novels, the latest is Sins of the Empress about Catherine the Great of Russia. I also write literary novels which I love. The latest is Forgetting Tommie.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

PP: The series features Dr. Alexandra Gladstone, a doctor in the fictitious village of Newton-Upon-Sea in Essex in the 1880s when female doctors were frowned upon and even forbidden to take medical classes in some instances. She and her maid, Nancy, get themselves involved in solving mysteries, and Alexandra has to use her hard-earned medical knowledge to solve them.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

PP: My favorite character is Constable Robert Snow. He is a former school master who has turned to the constabulary as a career. He is so taciturn and so reluctant to reveal his feelings and his secret life that he fascinates me.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

PP: As I have mentioned, an editor asked me to write a historical mystery. That means I stared with a blank slate, but research into what life was like for women in the Victorian era inspired me to create Alexandra, her village, her friends, and, of course, her marvelous dog, Zack.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

PP: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a published writer. I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision. I just always knew.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite four authors, living or dead, in any genre, whom would you invite?

PP:Margaret Attwood, Pat Conroy, Agatha Christie, and William Shakespeare.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

PP: Perfect Match by Jodi Picoult

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

PP: Aside from reading, which I’ve already confessed, I love playing the piano and taking Spanish classes. I also love to travel to exotic places. I just returned from the Amazon in Peru and will leave in May for South Africa. Before Peru, I tracked gorillas in Uganda.

Kathy: Name four items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

PP: I always have the staples: one-percent milk, real butter, eggs, and wine.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books in your current series or a new series?

PP: I hope to write several more books in the Gladstone series. I would love to take her to Uganda in the next one. As for a new series, I have just finished the first book in a series set in modern-day Santa Fe featuring a woman who owns a consignment high-end clothing store. I don’t have a pub date yet, but I already have a contract for a second one.

Kathy: What’s your favorite thing about being an author?

PP: At the risk of sounding like a boring nerd, I have to say my favorite part is the research.



The Second Alexandra Gladstone Mystery

Something's going on in Newton-upon-Sea. A Freemason is found dead inside the Masonic Lodge of the Ninth Daughter and a Templar Knight is seen riding through the village. While the enigmatic Constable Snow considers the death to be a heart attack as there are no obvious wounds, the Grand Master of the lodge believes it to be murder and calls upon Dr. Alexandra Gladstone. Before Alexandra can even consider investigating the matter the Grand Master himself is found dead. Even though she is a doctor with all the necessary training and talent, Dr. Gladstone is not allowed to perform autopsies-it just wouldn't be proper for a woman to see an unclothed man, even for this purpose. However, biased townspeople and discriminatory laws won't stop this Victorian doctor and her friends. With her housekeeper/nurse Nancy, the two lads she has taken in to work for her, her faithful dog, Zeke, and the dashing Lord Dunsford to help, Dr. Alexandra Gladstone will search for answers despite the risks.

FOR DEAD MEN ONLY looks at both class and gender while delivering an interesting mystery. Alexandra Gladstone is a doctor, an uncommon profession for a woman in the Victorian age. Yet although she has the skill and knowledge the fact that she's a woman prevents her from performing some rudimentary tasks; performing an autopsy on a man, for example or even being called a physician. Some townspeople don't view her as a doctor at all and get up in arms when they think she is overstepping her bounds. Gender isn't the only discriminating issue at work here. The class system is keeping romance slightly at bay. Lord Dunsford is a friend to Alexandra and, whether consciously or not, both have romantic feelings for each other. Yet Alexandra is even more aware of their class distinction and the impossibility of a relationship between them. Though I, and I'm sure most readers, are rooting for them as a couple.A constant in this book, however, is loyalty. Nancy, Lord Dunsforth, Artie, Rob, and Zeke prove their loyalty time and again, creating a family, even without blood.

Paul's vivid descriptions capture English village life in the late 19th century and readers are transported to Alexandra Gladstone's world. FOR DEAD MEN ONLY provides a mystery which calls upon ancient lore and modern Freemasons creating an atmosphere of suspense. A historical mystery which is able to resonate with modern readers, FOR DEAD MEN ONLY takes us back in time with meaning for today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading Raisin the Dead by Karoline Barrett. This book is the second in the Bread and Batter Mystery series and will be released April 19th.

Things are settling down in Destiny, NY after the murder of Calista Danforth-Brody. Molly and Olivia are baking and even expanding their offerings at Bread and Batter. Molly and Detective Sean Corsino are slowly advancing their relationship and Molly's new puppy is a delight. Things don't stay quiet for long, however. Serafina Alessi, owner of Serafina Perfumes who is practically American royalty, is in town. Big news to many, but not as big as Molly's mother's picture on the front page of the newspaper with some least not to Molly. Said guy is her mom's colleague and turns out to be a relative of Serafina. He also turns up dead. Could it possibly be another murder?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Random Bits of Research - Guest Post, Review, and Giveaway

Random Bits of Research
By Edith Maxwell
Thanks for having me over, Kathy! My new historical mystery will be shelved as just that – but it’s really a cozy!
I’ve done a lot of research while writing Delivering the Truth and I thought I’d share some of it today. Life in 1888 was pretty different than it is now. I decided that my Quaker midwife would live in the house I live in now, and many of the buildings in my historic town of Amesbury, in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, still stand. But those are just buildings. Everyday customs, prices, and expressions have changed considerably.
So I’m going to open several of the books on my historic research shelf and give you random bits.

First up is Miss Parloa’s New Cook Boko and Marketing Guide (1880). In the introduction - “Food, Working Appliances and Sanitation,” I read this: “Starchy foods, fats, and sugar, also mineral matter and flavors are essential to a well-balanced diet.” Wow. Starch, fats, and sugar are all things many modern dieters are cautioned to avoid. I randomly opened to later in the book and find a recipe for Curry of Lobster. Who knew they made curry back then?

Now for The Massachusetts Peace Officer: a Manual for Sheriffs, Constables, Police, and Other Civil Officers (1890). Page 94 reads, “[The officer] has a right to detain a prisoner a reasonable time while making a bona fide effort to find a magistrate to hear the cause. If the officer takes the defendant to the place where the magistrate resides and the magistrate is not accessible, he has a right to place the prisoner in jail over night for safe keeping.” That’s rather different than police procedure today.

One of my favorite books is How to Live Like a Victorian by Ruth Goodman. On page 282 she writes, “Another popular drug was cocaine.... [In the 1880s] it became particularly favoured for use in tonic wines, recommended as giving a general ‘lift’ to those who were feeling tired, lethargic, nervous, or depressed.” The ad for Coca Wine is particularly delightful.Imagine having a little cocaine in your glass of wine for dinner!
The Sears, Roebuck, & Company Consumers Guide (1894) and the Montgomery Ward & Company Catalogue and Buyers Guide’ (1895) are invaluable resources. You could get a road wagon for $31, a double-breasted black leather men’s coat for $5.25, or an open face ladies’ Chatelain watch for $11.50.  

And then there’s language. In Marc McCutcheon’s Everyday Life in the 1800s, a Guide for Writers, Students, and Historians, I find shut pan, meaning to shut up. “I shut pan on the subject, and fell to eating my dinner.” Peart meant fresh and happy; sprightly, as in, “The boys from being starved, wretched, and dull, grew quite peart under Eliza’s care.” And then there was cut up didoes: “Must all the world know all the didoes we cut up in the lodgeroom?”
Readers: What old phrase or custom are you fond of keeping alive? Do you have any good resources for life a hundred and thirty years ago?
Book blurb: For Quaker midwife Rose Carroll, life in Amesbury, Massachusetts, provides equal measures of joy and tribulation. She attends to the needs of mothers and newborns even as she mourns the recent death of her sister. Likewise, Rose enjoys the giddy feelings that come from being courted by a handsome doctor, but a suspicious fire and two murders leave her fearing for the well-being of her loved ones.
Driven by her desire for safety and justice, Rose Carroll begins asking questions related to the crimes. Consulting with her friends and neighbors―including the famous Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier―Rose draws on her strengths as a counselor and problem solver in trying to bring the perpetrators to light.
Bio: Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Her short story, “A Questionable Death,” is nominated for a 2016 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. The tale features the 1888 setting and characters from her Quaker Midwife Mysteries series, which debuts with Delivering the Truth on April 8.
Maxwell is Vice-President of Sisters in Crime New England and Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. She lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and at her web site,


The First Quaker Midwife Mystery

The year is 1888 and Amesbury, Massachusetts is a thriving town home to many carriage factories and other businesses. Rose Carroll is the town's respected midwife who visits women in their homes as well as her office, the front parlor of the house she shares with her brother in law and his five children. When a fire destroys most of the carriage factories, killing many workers trapped inside, the town is in shock. What's worse is that the fire is deemed to be arson! Who could have caused the blaze? When factory manager and son of the Perry Carriage Factory's owner is murdered shortly after the conflagration tensions rise higher. Who is the killer among them? Although Rose is a Quaker, patience is not one of her virtues, though seeking justice is. Keeping her eyes and ears open Rose tries to find the culprit even as she helps the town's new and soon to be mothers. Seeking counsel of Quaker elder and poet John Whittier and her friend and colleague Dr. David Dodge Rose begins to piece things together, but will she become a victim before she can identify the villain?

Edith Maxwell knows her material. The historical detail in DELIVERING THE TRUTH is impeccable from the new safety bicycles to the treacle cake. These little details give the verisimilitude so necessary in a historical mystery. I admit to some difficulty getting into the book at the start. Rose, as well as many other characters, belongs to the Society of Friends and as such uses plain language. It took me a while to acclimatize to the "thees" and "thous" and I felt distanced from the flow of the story. Still in all, it was imperative that plain language be used, else the truth in the novel would go right out the window! By the end of the book I was simply swept away by the story.

Although this is a historical novel, set in 1888, many modern societal issues can be found here including postpartum depression and bipolar disorder. Maxwell is able to shed light on these oft shunned subject. The mystery here is as complex as its characters; multilayered, multifaceted, written with both subtle nuances and broad brushstrokes. DELIVERING THE TRUTH requires a degree of diligence, but the rewards and satisfaction it gives readers is well worth any effort expended.

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Interview Dancing & Giveaway

I'm happy to welcome Lesley Cookman back to the blog today. Lesley pens the Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery series. Murder Dancing is the sixteenth book in the series and was released last month.

Kathy: An all-male dance company arrives in Steeple Martin in Murder Dancing. Do you enjoy ballet? Do you follow any dance troupes?

LC: I love ballet. I follow Northern Ballet and Matthew Bourne's New Adventures company, which was the inspiration behind this story, with its wonderful rendition of an all male Swan Lake.

Kathy: The troupe performs a ballet about the infamous Pendle Witch Trials. Were you familiar with this history before writing this story? 

LC: Very familiar! I've mentioned the trials in previous books, it's a subject that interests me - not just in the UK, but in the US and Europe, too.

Kathy: The question of occult forces at work arises in Murder Dancing. What are your thoughts on the subject?

LC: I'm afraid I don't believe in them - even though I've used this theme in several books.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

LC: As I've said, I love the all male Swan Lake, and decided I wanted to write about a similar troupe. The Pendle story seemed appropriate.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Libby Sarjeant?

LC: The seventeenth in the series, Murder On The Run, will be out later this year, probably in late August/early September.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

LC: The second in The Alexandrians, an Edwardian mystery series, will be out before Christmas.


For a chance to win an e-copy of Murder Dancing simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us your favorite type of dancing to watch and/or your thoughts on the famous witch trials along with your e-mail address. Leave your comment no later than 11:59pm EDT Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review - Crime and Poetry


The First Magical Bookshop Mystery

Violet Waverly rushes back to Cascade Springs, NY, a place she vowed never to return, to see her dying grandmother. She discovers, however, a talking bird flying around the family bookshop and a perfectly healthy Grandma Daisy! Violet also learns that her grandma has been keeping things from her including a boyfriend and the fact that the bookshop actually has magical properties granted by the famous spring water. Although Violet wants to flee town as soon as possible, Grandma Daisy declares that Violet needs to take over as Caretaker. Before Violet can even imagine what that means, yet alone entails, she finds a dead body, as she did prompting her previous flight from town. When her Grandma is named a suspect, Violet knows she can't leave town, at least not yet! 

Amanda Flower moves out of Ohio in her most recent mystery series and comes to Western New York. She brings something else new too-magic! While prior series involve the Amish and a living history museum this time she's devised a magical bookshop. While the outside world remains mostly mundane, the bookshop required a Caretaker who cares for the birch tree growing inside the building and is given information  in the form of books. At Charming Books the books chose their reader.

In CRIME AND POETRY Flower creates a delightful new world. A charming town in WNY, a Chief of Police who is both attractive and attentive, fun and spunky animals with minds of their own (Emerson the cat and Faulkner the crow), as well as a magical bookstore combine to make a captivating entry to a great new series. As a Western New Yorker myself I love reading books set in my area and am so pleased to see a main character who is part of the Seneca Nation.

Flower is off to a great start in her new series. She crafts a solid mystery with choices from the past coloring the present. Violet is an engaging protagonist. As an academic she has an analytical mind, yet her field of study, Transcendental Literature, requires the artistic and creative side. She's therefore able to appreciate the otherworldly, even if it takes a while to acknowledge it. These facets also produce a great detective. Violet will prove more than capable to solve mysteries that come her way.

FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Who Invited the Ghost for an Interview & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Teresa Watson to Cozy Up With Kathy today. Teresa writes the Ghost Writer Mystery series. WHO INVITED THE GHOST FOR DINNER? is the second book in the series and was released February 1st.

Kathy: Cam Shaw is a ghost writer. Would you ever consider working as a ghost writer?

TW: I think I would try it once, just for the experience. If it went well, then I would consider doing it again.

Kathy: Cam Shaw also deals with ghosts. Do you believe in ghosts?Have you ever had a ghostly experience?

TW: I wasn’t raised to believe in ghosts, but I think it is possible that they are around. Shortly after my father died last year, my mother said she felt he was in the house one night because she heard his office chair squeaking for a few minutes.

Kathy: WHO INVITED THE GHOST FOR DINNER? involves a production of BLITHE SPIRIT, a favorite play of mine. Why BLITHE SPIRIT? Any particular reason apart from ghosts?

TW: I’m a theatre geek! I was involved in high school and college, and I also did a community theatre production of STEEL MAGNOLIAS (I was M’Lynn). BLITHE SPIRIT is one of my favorite plays. It’s fun to watch Elvira wreak havoc on her poor husband’s life!

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

TW: I’ve been reading mysteries since I was in the sixth grade. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha mother and I enjoy the same writers, so we trade books back and forth all the time.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

TW: Not at this time, although I am open to trying a different genre at some point!

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

TW: Well, the Ghostwriter series is about a ghostwriter who is suddenly able to see ghosts, who ask for her help in solving their murders. It’s definitely turned her life totally upside down! My other series is the Lizzie Crenshaw Mysteries series, about a woman living in a small town with a quirky cast of characters. She runs the local newspaper, and has managed to solve a few crimes, mostly by accident.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

TW: I would have to say that my favorite character was Debra Cosgrove from the Lizzie series. Debra was Lizzie’s crazy half-aunt who happened to be a contract killer. I loved writing for her because I never knew what she was going to do, or when she was going to turn up! I think she had honorable intentions when it came to Lizzie, but her work usually got in the way of them having any kind of normal relationship. However, I was given a “death warrant” for her, and “ordered” to make her go away permanently, so she was killed off in DEATH CATCHES A KILLER. And before you ask, it was my mother who said she had to go (Mom also helps edit my books). Trust me, I argued like crazy to keep her around, but Mother was firm, so I bumped Debra off. *sigh* I still miss her. But, I think I have found a new favorite character, and that is Mac in the current Cam story.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

TW: I don’t think there is a specific inspiration. My father was a Methodist minister, so we moved a lot when I was growing up. You meet all kinds of people! Some of those people just make such an impression on you that you remember them for the rest of your life. So I used them for some of the inspiration in my stories.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

TW: The first Lizzie story, DEATH OF A CANTANKEROUS OLD COOT, actually started out as a story for a group of online friends. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and a friend and fellow writer, Jamie Lee Scott, suggested that I try and publish it. I did send it to a small publishing company, and they enjoyed the story, but wanted me to make it longer. I didn’t agree with that, because I felt it would take away from the story. So Jamie suggested self-publishing it; she created the cover, formatted it for me, uploaded it, and it just went from there!

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

TW: Wow, what a great question! Hm, let me think: the late Robert B. Parker (I love his Spenser series); the late Agatha Christie; Steve Berry (he writes the Cotton Malone series); and Jan Karon (the Mitford series).

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

TW: I’m actually not reading a mystery right now! *gasp* I’m reading OUT TO CANAAN by Jan Karon. It’s an excellent series, and one that I have enjoyed over the years with my parents.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

TW: Does torturing my husband count as a hobby? *laughs* I’m a huge sports fan, so this is a great time of the year for me (as I write this, tomorrow is the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament - GIG ‘EM AGGIES!). I’m a voracious reader, and read almost anything I can get my hands on. I love history, especially the Civil War and World War II. Movies are a big thing around here. Throw in music and crocheting, and that’s me in a nutshell!

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

TW: Dr Pepper, eggs, Apple Jacks, and Betty Crocker Ultimate Fudge Brownie mix!

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

TW: I have an index card with several title suggestions for the Lizzie series; two ideas for new Cam books; and two ideas for a couple of different possible series.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

TW: You mean besides killing off people? *laughs* I really love hearing from people who have read both series, and having them tell me how much they love the stories. There are those who alternate between “what a great book”, followed by “but”, then switching back to “what a great book”. I do pay attention to what people say about the books, what they like, what they don’t like, or what they’d like to see happen. I do try to work some of those suggestions and comments into the next story. But isn’t that why every author writes? To hear that people really enjoy your stories? It makes all the hard work, sleepless nights (I just had one last night), and days of editing worthwhile.

For a chance to win an e-book copy of WHO INVITED THE GHOST FOR DINNER? simply leave a comment on this blog post telling us if you'd like to be able to talk with ghosts. Leave your comment no later than 11:59 pm EDT Monday, April 11, 2016. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so that I may contact you should you win!